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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's The "In" Thing, Stephen.

What's wrong with our PM?  He keeps trying to convince people the other parties will form a coalition if he doesn't get a majority, and that this is bad, so they should vote for him.  Funny how his counterparts in the British Conservative Party don't seem to think coalitions are a bad thing.  They're even running around chopping things left and right like Harper would if he could get away with it.  Maybe he should reconsider the idea and think about forming one himself again if things don't go the way he wants.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Maybe You'll See Paul.

How's this for an interesting webcam?  It provides live coverage of the famous Abbey Road street crossing.  Pretty good quality and a smooth feed.  Of course it should be noted that Saskatoon is 6 hours behind UTC, so it's nighttime in London as I post this.

Pay The Girl.

I'm not going to post Rebecca Black's surprise pop hit "Friday."  It's been seen enough already.  All I'll say is that I hope Ark Music, the company behind the song, will pay her for its success.  At minimum they should pay back her family for the money they shelled out for its creation, no matter what the contract they signed says.  Black apparently had no involvement in writing the song, but she at least deserves a chunk of the mechanical royalties(royalties paid out for the sales of the actual recording) being the artist.

Somehow before all this is done I suspect we'll be hearing about a lawsuit involving at least some of the parties.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not The Final Bow.

Although she had long been in poor health the announcement that Elizabeth Taylor has died still came as a surprise.  The tabloids had featured variations on "her brave last days" headlines so often over the years it seemed she would dodge death into her nineties, but it was not to be.  However this won't be the last we'll see of her in the celeb press.  Given a suitable mourning period(say a couple of weeks) the tabs will move on to the kind of stories they run post death about people like Taylor, such as lurid details of her life they held back out of fear of lawsuit or the fights amongst her heirs over her estate, whoever they may be.

Althnough in the later years of her life she was best known simply for her celebrity it is worth remembering that she came to fame as an actress, her career including 2 Oscars for Best Actress.  Compare this with someone like Kim Kardashian, whose primary claim to fame seems to be that she can dress herself.  I doubt we'll be talking about her or her contemporaries when they're in their seventies.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Big Five.

Twitter turns five today.  It can now go to kindergarten in the Fall.

The obvious question is where Twitter will be in five years.  A lot of internet big names have risen and fallen.  A few years ago Myspace would have seemed like the place to invest in, but now the site is stagnant.  AOL seemed to be everywhere at one point, but now has a much smaller public footprint.  Remember Altavista?  Even if you do you likely haven't used it in years.  Being on Twitter may seem tired in a few years, replaced by some other concept.

On CBC Saskatchewan's The Morning Edition this morning host Sheila Coles commented on the banality of many Twitter messages, like people sayng they're eating breakfast.  Given that Twitter is an online equivalent of cell phone text messaging this is no surprise.  Lots of text messages are equally trivial.

This post is longer than 140 characters.  Hopefully it won't strain anyone's attention span.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hey CFQC!

Tell your newscasters to stop pronouncing Iraq as "eye rack."  That is not how that country name is pronounced.  Doing so makes them sound like uneducated hicks, and I suspect a lot of uneducated hicks know better.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Defensive Action.

Talk continues that the lowly penny may soon be discontinued in Canada.  But today I did my part to keep it around.  I decided this morning I wanted a drink, but I was a little short on change.  Not wanting to be totally changeless I grabbed a couple of rolls of pennies I had planned to deposit in the bank eventually and set off for the local Safeway.  The one closest to me has a self checkout lane that accepts cash, so I knew I could use a bunch of pennies.  So I grabbed my pop and spent a couple of minutes shovelling a buck and a bit of pennies into the kiosk.  No doubt the guy who was overseeing the self checkout lane must have thought I was crazy, but the machines accept pennies so it was a legit way to pay.  Of course all this was done with the knowledge on my part that there aren't many customers there at 9:30 AM, so I wasn't likely to slow things up.  Doing quixotic things like this should be done in a way that won't cause problems for others. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Google Disturbs.

I'm sitting here reading a discussion about how rape is presented in fanfiction.  It reminded me of a piece of Ranma 1/2 fanfiction where a drugged Ranma is raped by Kuno.  The title escapes me, so I typed "ranma kuno rape" into Google in an effort to find it.  After I hit enter it came back with "Did you mean: ranma akane rape."  It's a disturbing enough topic to be searching for as it is, and Google comes back with that, which would seem to indicate that's a far more common combination of words.  Thanks for upping the discomfort factor.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Woo Warning.

A post by Les over at Stupid Evil Bastard hipped me to this, a handy comic list of telltale words that indicate (in the proper context of course) you're dealing with a woo monger.  These will be familiar to anyone who pays attention to woo, but they're a good reminder of what to watch out for.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Would You Eat That?

It's amazing the weird stuff people will eat.  I've become a regular viewer of the show Chopped on the Food Network.  The premise is that 4 chefs compete to impress a panel of judges with dishes made from surprise ingredients.  In the basket for last night's opening appetizer course?  Goat brains!  Why would anyone want to eat goat brains?  Disgusting.  Of course that's not as weird as some foods and beverages you can find, like the pricey coffee that's made of beans collected after passing through a civet.  At least goat brain is just an unappealing chunk of flesh, versus coffee beans that have been pooped out of an Indonesian equivalent of a raccoon.

I hope this doesn't put you off your feed, as the saying goes.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Designs.

There are many considerations when selling a product.  One of the important ones is the design of the packaging.

squat 2

In recent years soft drinks have been offered in Canada in cans like those above.  These squat little things contain 237 millilitres of product each.

skinny

When I went to buy some groceries yesterday I decided to buy some Coke Zero.  When I came to the pop isle I found that the small can format had changed to the one above, as it has for other Coke brand products.  It's taller than the previous format, which was the same 237 millilitre package as the Pepsi cans above.  But if you look at the picture carefully you'll see that the can actually contains less than the old version. It contains 222 millilitres of beverage, 15 less than the squatter format.

I doubt the new format was intended solely to reduce the amount of product.  Given that part of the reason for his size of pop is to appeal to those on diets it wouldn't surprise me if they hope to encourage purchases by making people subconciously associate drinking that size with getting slimmer.  They might also be hoping to attract customers who like energy drinks like Red Bull, which come in similar slim cans.  But whatever the other reasons they've also apparently decided to use the change to increase their profit margin.  I have no idea how much 15 millilitres of Coke Zero or any other soft drink costs to make.  But if you make a tenth of a cent or whatever per can versus the 237 ml size while selling it at the same price it will quickly add up.